Apple Pay speeds up payments on the Tube

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A commuter using their Apple Watch to enter the tubeImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Express Transit feature will apply to the latest iPhones and Apple Watches

Apple has tweaked its Apple Pay service in an effort to reduce queues at London Tube-station barriers.

The Express Transit feature means commuters will experience shorter payment times when they tap in to the Tube using their iPhone or Apple Watch.

It works by doing away with the need to authenticate payments via face recognition or a fingerprint scan.

The move brings Apple Pay into line with Android Pay, which already allows commuters to simply tap in and out.

The Express Transit feature will work on iPhone SE, 6S and later models as well as the Apple Watch.

By designating a specific bank card to be their travel payment card, owners of these devices won't need to authenticate transactions as they enter and exit the Tube system any more.

Instead of a bank card, users can also designate their Citymapper Pass - a virtual travel card available on a subscription, starting at £30 per week.

'Seconds lost'

"With more people using their iPhones to pay for their travel around London, it's become increasingly noticeable that transactions are marginally slower when you use an Apple device," said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

"Queues can quickly form at peak times when a few seconds are lost here and there."

He praised the move but said Apple faced a challenge in educating commuters on how to set up the service.

Apple Pay users can activate their travel card by assigning an "Express Travel Card" in the Wallet & Apple Pay section of iOS settings.